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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evidence for Pavlovian conditioning of cocaine-induced responses linked to emotional behavioral effects.

The pairing of cocaine treatments with a specific test environment typically leads to cocaine-conditioned drug effects. In this study, we first pre-exposed rats 10 times to an open-field environment to establish an habituation asymptote in locomotor activity prior to the initiation of cocaine treatments. Two groups (N=10) equated for locomotion, grooming, central zone penetrations and rearing behavior were used. One group received five pairings of cocaine (10.0 mg/kg) and the second group five pairings of saline injections with placements in the open-field environment. Subsequently, both groups received a saline test to detect possible cocaine-conditioned behavioral effects. During the cocaine treatment phase, cocaine enhanced locomotion and central zone penetrations but decreased rearing and grooming. On the conditioning test, the cocaine group exhibited enhanced central zone penetrations and decreased grooming as compared to the saline group. There were no group differences in locomotion or rearing. When within group comparisons were performed between behavioral responses on the pre-conditioning test vs. the conditioning test, the saline group scores were essentially unchanged. In contrast, the cocaine group exhibited higher central zone penetrations and decreased grooming without changes in locomotion or rearing. In that a cocaine conditioning test can also be viewed as a cocaine withdrawal test, two additional experiments were conducted using an unpaired conditioning protocol to test for withdrawal effects without conditioning. These results indicated that the central zone and grooming effects observed in the conditioning protocol were not withdrawal effects. Altogether, these findings provide support for Pavlovian conditioning of cocaine-induced changes in emotion-related behavioral responses.[1]


  1. Evidence for Pavlovian conditioning of cocaine-induced responses linked to emotional behavioral effects. Carey, R.J., DePalma, G., Damianopoulos, E. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. (2005) [Pubmed]
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